At least four U.S. Departments of Defense departments, including the Army and Navy, have collectively spent at least $3.5 million on a little-known data monitoring tool that is reportedly capable of accessing vast amounts of email and web browser data.
Team Cymru, the Florida-based cybersecurity firm behind the tool, claims that its product gives customers “the super majority of all online activity” and “visibility” of over 90% of their Internet traffic.
The previously unknown government purchases, disclosed in a Vice report on Wednesday, have raised alarms from a prominent US senator and the American Civil Liberties Union who told Gizmodo that little is known yet about how the Department of Defense drives the tool. Wyden wrote that this “could reveal highly sensitive information about who we are and what we read online.”
Wyden on Wednesday sent a letter to the inspectors general of the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security, calling for an investigation into their agency’s data purchases, confirming that “a large number of government agencies are buying Americans’ data without jurisdiction.”